Pakistan set to elect new Prime Minister today: Six in race to replace Nawaz Sharif

Pakistan`s lawmakers will on Tuesday elect a new prime minister following Nawaz Sharif`s disqualification by the Supreme Court in the Panamagate case.

Six candidates on Monday filed their nomination papers for the interim Prime Minister`s election.

Pakistan opposition members on Monday failed to arrive at a consensus on a single candidate for the interim Prime Minister.

The National Assembly of Parliament is the electoral college for the election of the Prime Minister.

Following are the six candidates who are in the race:

– Nawaz Sharif`s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party has nominated Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who submitted his papers with the National Assembly secretariat in Islamabad on Monday. Sharif has named his brother Shahbaz, 65, as long-term successor. He added that the plan is for former petroleum minister Abbasi to stay in power for less than two months until Shahbaz, who is the chief minister of the vast Punjab province, wins a by-election to the National Assembly and becomes eligible to be prime minister.

– Notably, Sharif`s PML-N party holds a majority with 188 seats in the 342-member Parliament, so it should be able to swiftly install its choice, barring any defections from its own ranks.

– Syed Khurshid Shah, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly who represents the major opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), is among the opposition candidates. Syed Naveed Qamar of the PPP will be his covering candidate.

– Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has fielded Sheikh Rashid Ahmad. He is the leader of Awami Muslim League, an ally of PTI.

– The Islamic party Jamaat-e Islami has nominated Sahibzada Tariqullah as its candidate.

– Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) candidate is Kishwar Zahra.

Meanwhile, Abassi on Monday stressed he would continue Sharif`s policies. His tenure is expected to last only about two months.

A quick handover could ease the political upheaval sparked by a Supreme Court decision on Friday to disqualify Sharif for not declaring a source of income. The court also ordered a criminal investigation into him and his family.

The SC also directed a separate criminal investigation into Sharif and his family in its ruling, which Sharif`s allies have portrayed as political meddling but opposition leader Imran Khan has hailed as a victory for the rule of law.

Over the weekend Sharif said he was shocked by the SC ruling disqualifying him over unreported income from a company owned by his son in Dubai. Sharif said the monthly salary – equivalent to $2,722 – was nominal and he never actually received any of it.

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